Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama for 2020
Shopping for the best Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama for 2020 can be a good option for many people who are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Unlike Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama are considered an alternative to Medicare. You’ll typically use the insurance card from your chosen insurance company instead of from Medicare Part A and Part B, but your insurance company will be required to follow certain rules and provide certain coverage to participate in the federal Medicare program. Once you learn a little more about this option, you might find that Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama are something you should look into after you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Overview of the Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama for 2020
If you choose to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama in 2020, you will need to do some careful research about the type of policy that you’re buying. Comparing Medicare Advantage plans is not as easy as comparing Medicare Supplement insurance options because they are not the same from company to company. However, we make it easy for you to learn about your options and to pick the best Alabama Medicare Par C policy for you.
Best Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama: When Can You Enroll?
Once you pick a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama, you’ll probably want to sign up as soon as you can. There are specific times when you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama:
- Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period ICEP: Your ICEP falls during the time when you are first eligible for Medicare. Medicare Advantage enrollment during this period will allow you to enjoy your new benefits as soon as possible.
- Medicare Annual Election Period AEP: From October 15 to December 7 of each year, Medicare beneficiaries are given the opportunity to sign up for, change or disenroll from a Medicare Part C plan in Alabama for 2020.
- Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period MADP: This period is now known as the MA OEP.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period MA OEP: Formerly known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, this period runs from January 1 to March 31 of each year. This gives you an extra opportunity to change your coverage.
- Medicare Special Election Periods SEP: As a beneficiary, you may find that an SEP will be triggered during certain times of your life. If you lose coverage through Medicaid (such as if you were once dual-eligible but are not any longer) or through your employer, if you move or if your insurance company’s contract with Medicare ends, for example, an SEP will be triggered. This gives you an opportunity to purchase a new policy.
Best Types of Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama for 2020
If you’ve decided that you want to sign up for one of these policies instead of just relying on Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, then you’ll want to know about the different types of Medicare plans that are available for 2020. These are the primary options for Alabama residents who want to control their healthcare costs and enjoy benefits that are above and beyond what is offered by traditional Medicare coverage.
PPO Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO) in Alabama
- One of the more popular types of Medicare Advantage policies
- Has a provider network
- Offers lower pricing for beneficiaries who visit an in-network hospital or doctor
- You don’t need referrals to see specialists
HMO Health Maintenance Organization Plans (HMO) in Alabama
- Typically the only health insurance option that is sometimes available with $0 premium, although many plans do have a monthly premium
- The most popular type of Part C policy in many areas
- Requires you to see in-network providers
- Typically required to see a primary care doctor (PCP) for referrals for specialists
Private Fee-for-Service PFFS in Alabama
- The policy determines how much you will pay and how much the insurance company will pay when you see a doctor or another healthcare provider or when you go to the hospital
- There are no network restrictions with these health plans
Special Needs Plans SNPs in Alabama
- Special Needs Plans are designed for individuals with some chronic health conditions or institutional conditions, such as end stage renal disease ESRD
- Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans with drug benefits are always included in these plan options, significantly reducing out-of-pocket costs for many people who have expensive medication costs and high medical bills
No matter which Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama you choose, you’ll want to look for a policy from a company with top star ratings on the rating system, and you’ll also want to make sure that the network service area works for your needs. Comparing monthly premiums, looking at a complete description of benefits and finding out how much you’ll need to pay for co-pays are all steps you’ll want to take when looking for a plan. You may also specifically want to talk to your insurance agent about choosing a plan that includes a Medicare prescription drug plan so that you don’t have to buy a stand-alone plan for this coverage.
Enrollment Figures for Alabama Medicare Advantage Plans
- The five largest counties in Alabama are Jefferson, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery and Shelby.
- There were 1,045,702 Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama in 2018.
- 391,201 of Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama were enrolled in Medicare Advantage in 2018.
Do Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama Cover Prescription Drugs?
Although not all Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug policies built into them, many do for 2020. These are known as MAPD plans. By signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama that has this included, you don’t have to take any extra steps to become a beneficiary of a prescription drug policy. Plus, you’ll avoid the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty.
Be aware that all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are not the same and do not offer the same prescription drug coverage. Along with taking the time to compare rates for premiums, you’ll also want to compare coverage. After all, different companies have different prescription drug tiers and formularies. Deductibles and networks vary, too.
Network Restrictions for Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama?
Medicare Advantage plans can help you avoid the coinsurances, copayments and more that go along with Original Medicare. One thing that you do have to worry about with these plans, unlike with Medigap plans, is network restrictions.
- In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Within Coverage Area: HMO Medicare Advantage plans typically do not pay for anything outside of the network, unless it is an emergency situation. PPO Medicare Advantage plans do offer out-of-network coverage, although you’ll pay more for care outside of your plan’s network.
- Traveling With Plan: Emergency care will be covered when you’re traveling with health maintenance organization HMO plans or preferred provider organization PPO plans, regardless of network. With a PPO, you do have out-of-network capabilities when you’re traveling, even in non-emergency situations.
- Moving Across State Lines: Even though Medicare Part A and Part B are not affected by a move, Medicare Part C is. An SEP will be triggered if you move, allowing you to compare rates and coverage so that you can sign up for a new Medicare Part C plan in Alabama.
Added Benefits of Medicare Advantage Plan in Alabama
In addition to looking into the formulary of any Medicare Part D plan/prescription drug plan that might be included with your policy, you should also check out any additional benefits that might be included. Some of the benefits that can sometimes be enjoyed as a part of your Medicare Advantage plan are listed here. These are above and beyond the benefits you can enjoy through Original Medicare or even a Supplement plan:
- Routine vision and dental care
- Hearing care
- Wellness programs
- Gym membership like Silver Sneakers
- Diet and nutrition recommendations
- Allowance for over-the-counter medication
- Classes and seminars about healthy living
- Transportation to and from your appointments
- Payment of some or all of your Medicare Part B premium
Here are a few changes for 2020:
- Starting in 2020, insurance companies that provide Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama will be able to add some supplemental non-health related benefits to certain beneficiaries, such as providing help with making structural changes to the home when needed. This is designed to help those who might need help with widening doorways or installing ramps for their homes.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a 2.53% payment increase to Medicare insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama.
Top Companies Offering Medicare Advantage Plans in Alabama for 2020
If you live anywhere throughout the state of Alabama, such as in one of these cities, then we can help you:
There are a lot of Medicare Advantage plan providers in Alabama, however, these are some of our favorites for Alabama residents:
- Viva Health
- Health Spring
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
- Community HealthFirst
Alabama Medicare Resources
If you want more information about Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) and more, check out these helpful resources below:
- Extra Help for Alabama Medicare Beneficiaries
- CMS: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
We’d also love to help you enhance the benefits of Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) with the help of a Medicare Advantage plan in Alabama for 2020. If your Medicare Enrollment Period is coming up and you need help checking out the best option for you, give us a call or use our website today. We’ll help you find the best option for enhancing your Original Medicare benefits.